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Nov 30, 2004 01:38 PM

Hereford House, Kansas City, for steaks?

  • t

My wife and I will be in Kansas City, for the first time, just before Christmas. The Hereford House (20th & Main - are there other locations?) has been recommended as the best place for steaks (I'm not going to KC for the sushi, although I'm sure it's good). Any comments, good or bad?

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  1. In my opinion, the Hereford House has been past its prime for many years. Used to be THE place for steak in Kansas City, but after more than a few bad experiences myself and hearing reports of others, I have trouble recommending it. Ordinary food and lax service don't count for a lot.

    I'd rather go to:

    Jess & Jim's - 135th Street west of Holmes

    Golden Ox - in the stockyards by Kemper Arena

    The Savoy Grill - between Broadway and Central on Ninth

    J. Gilbert's - 89th & Metcalf in Overland Park

    Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse - in Tonganoxie, Kansas

    9 Replies
    1. re: KC-Jane

      I'd agree with Jane that it's best to steer (no pun intended!) clear of the Hereford House. I've been to the one downtown and in Town Center, and I was not impressed by the food or the service. And this is strictly my opinion, but they've just got way too much stuff on the menu to concentrate on doing steaks properly.

      Depending on the atmosphere you are after, Jess and Jim's is great for a more rustic "Kansas City" experience by the railroad tracks. Decent steak, definitely more memorable than Hereford House. For a more upscale experience that is still very "Kansas City", the best T-Bone I've ever had in my life was at the Savoy Grill. I cannot vouch for their consistency, but when it's good it's great.

      There are some great picks above, those just happen to be what I'd go with first. And while it is a chain restaurant, I'd also mention the Capital Grille on the Plaza. When I'm feeling wealthy and in the mood for a great steak, I just love that place. The steaks and service are always good, and their calamari appetizer with the peppers mixed in is probably my favorite version in KC.

      Anyway, this probably did nothing to simplify your choice, but I hope you have a great time in KC! Be sure to report back!


      1. re: Zeemanb

        Well, since you said The Savoy Grill had the best T-bone you've ever had, Jerry, I really think I'd encourage these folks to go to The Savoy for sure.

        Of all the places I named above, The Savoy has the most charm and class.

        Make a reservation for the Harry and Bess Truman booth or one of the booths on the west wall. If you can't get that, be sure to ask for seating in the front main room, not one of the other rooms. The booths are spacious and pretty private with their great high backs. The room is filled with old dark wood, brass accents and lots of stained glass.

        With the exception of one new waiter who did the bouncy head toss and the "Hi-my-name-is-Mike" routine on one of my visits, service there is always impeccable and discreet.

        It's an historic old establishment dating from 1903 and it's just a pleasure to go there.

        I don't have first hand experience with steaks there as I always have seafood at The Savoy, but friends I've been with have certainly enjoyed their steaks.

        1. re: KC-Jane

          I used to do a lot of work in KC, and I was not happy with the herefore house. The golden ox (back then) cooked their steaks over coal, and they were wonderful.

          1. re: KC-Jane

            Jane, it was just one of those perfect steaks. I don't know how they got that sear so right. I swear the grill marks were 1/8 inch into the meat and it was still perfectly medium rare. I'm no expert, but I'm guessing they get that grill white hot and then finish the steak in the oven. The only thing I've ever had there that has been inconsistent has been some of the seafood, and it wasn't like it was horrible, just not great.

            My dad used to wash dishes there when he and my mom were first married, and when we all went there a few years ago he swore that a couple of those servers worked there clear back then. I think I went there for the first time on a date when I was 23 or 24 and it was my first experience with that type of classic service. "Hey, that guy left me the shaker after he poured my!"

            I haven't been there in way too long. Think I just figured out where I need to eat while I'm on vacation next week.


            1. re: Zeemanb

              Zeemanb - I first started going to The Savoy when I was but a child in the late 1950s. It was a popular hangout for newspapermen and thus my father was there often for business and for pleasure. He and Mom had dinner there at least once a month all through the late '50s and until he died in '75. About twice a year, we went as a family.

              The old line waiters in their starched white serving jackets with a fresh towel over their arm at all times set the tone for the place. They were stealth in serving and bussing the tables, and yet they were always readily available and attentive without fawning. They were consumate professionals of the highest order.

              Some of them had worked there for 50 years. Several were the sons or nephews of Savoy waiters.

              I think I saw the last of the old line waiters there about seven or eight years ago. Not that the newer waiters are a problem -- they aren't -- but the only other places I've ever had such top flight service the Savoy old liners gave was at the London Chop House in Detroit in 1969 and at a fine restaurant in San Francisco's financial district (I think it was called The Eagle or The Phoenix, but I may be wrong) in 1978.

              Younger waiters can seek to emulate but none yet have duplicated that fine old line service.

          2. re: Zeemanb

            I know this post is years late -- but your post seems so all over the place... if you really want to talk about consistency, let's talk about that fact that since 1957 the Hereford House has impressed MOST people.

            It's an institution in KC with dry aged steaks and attention to quality... the servers are experienced...

            In looking around, I can't think of a restaurant group that better represents KC -

            1. re: muddy

              After I long week, I looked forward to a fine steak dinner so I went to the Hereford House, Zona rosa, 8661 N. Stoddard Ave, Kansas city, MO.

              It was one of the most disappointing meals I have experienced. The steak lacked any flavor whatsoever and was very tough. I even had to break down and request sauce, although that didn’t help either. The side (potatoes), appetizer (Jumbo Shrimp wrapped in bacon) was equally disappointing. The shrimp were NOT jumbo shrimp by any stretch of the imagination.

              The waiter may have been new, certainly not experienced. The hostess was cold and impersonal, no feeling of hospitality at all. I am unable to comment on the wait staff in general as this was my first and only visit to this particular location. My check total was $63. I get the feeling from other post that the original location may be worth a try; however it appears from my experience this place is nothing more than a chain type restaurant. I would have been better off finding a Western Sizzling for the same quality steak and I could have had 3-4 for the same price!

              I am only visiting Kansas City for the next week, so I would appreciate any additional recommendations for a good steak in the area.

              1. re: QuackersandBrownie

                Piropos has excellent steak.
                Jess and Jims (not IN Kansas City, but I have heard from numerous sources it is fabulous and worth the drive)

                Em Chamas isnt a steakhouse, but is a pure protein orgy. i am going there in april and im really excited! i cant wait to try it and report back.

                1. re: asiansensation007

                  Thanks! I am on the BBQ hunt today based on this post I have them all in the GPS and moving out!

                  I just plugged in Jess and Jim's Steak House, 517 E 135th St, Kansas City, MO 64145 and will give it a try next weekend.

        2. s
          steven binder

          there are many fine places to dine in kansas city and the Hereford House is almost the best in the country I say almost cause im still looking for that other one that is better but i keep hopeing.

          6 Replies
          1. re: steven binder


            Are you referencing a specific location of Hereford House? I noticed in the dining guide that I have there are several locations. I am still in need of a good steak dinner, so I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you are willing to share and specific locations.

            1. re: QuackersandBrownie

              I doubt going to a different Hereford House location will drastically change your experience or provide you with the steak dinner you are craving. You might have better service, but the food will all be the same. You're going to get the same steak regardless the location, as I highly doubt they order from different distributors. There are numerous steak houses in KC, so if I were you, I wouldn't waste my money and limited time going back to the same one.

              Your best bet would be to try one of the other recommendations on the board. While spendy, I've heard great things about Plaza III and also Capital Grill (although it is a chain). I have other friends who swear by the Golden Ox.

              1. re: pollymerase

                I agree. This evening I tried Savoy Grill. It was a little hectic due to the basketball crowd so really can't evaluate the service at this time.

                I didn't find the Savoy to be anything special food wise. Overpriced for the quality.

                on a positive note, see my review here on a great chow experience at LCs BBQ.

                1. re: QuackersandBrownie

                  Stopped at Piropos this evening. Very nice place, great ambiance, my waitress (Jen) was outstanding - great hospitality, excellent service. she was able to articulate the differences between various menu items which is always nice. They were having a 50% off all wines, I think this is a Sunday special, but don't recall exactly, so don't hold me to that. I started with an Argentian La Gartot Merlot, a beef empanada as appetizer and the dual pork chop entree. The chops came with mashed potatoes, an apples/raisins which gave the chops a great apple flavor. The desert menu sounded really great, so may go back just for coffee and dessert.

                  Overall, I give Piropos a thumbs up primarily due to the positive staff, excellent food and ambiance, the combination helped justify the final tally.

                  For lunch, I stopped at a place called Town Topic hamburgers in KC, a diner type joint. It looked like a place that made me think I would get a good burger here, however I left disappointed, all I could think was "Where's the Beef?" so chowed it down quickly and got back on the hunt. I was looking for Po's Dumplings, but the GPS was not cooperating, but more likely (L)user error! :-)

                  Will update if I manage to get there this week. My next hunt is for BEER! plan on heading out to Lawrence to check out the Free State Brewery. Still researching the chow... any suggestion? I am really on the jones for a great hotdog with chili, onions, slaw and mustard. Any recommendations?

                  Piropos Argentinian Restaurant
                  4141 N. Mulberry Dr., Kansas City, MO 64116

                  1. re: QuackersandBrownie

                    I'm so glad you went to piropos. They have the best ribeye I have ever had. They're very consistent with their food and service which always makes it an amazing experience. Their seafood is amazing as is their scallop risotto!

                    1. re: QuackersandBrownie

                      Good hot dog? Johhny's in Prairie Village has a good hot dog menu - and it's original location is in Lawrence...look it up! The PV location is nothing too scene, bar food, but it's pretty good burgers, dogs, etc. I've not been to the Lawrence location. Also, Starker's Reserve on the Plaza for steaks is said to be excellent as well as Yahooz (reviewed yesterday in the paper which confirms Jakevol2's opinion that is excellent).

            2. Well,

              savoy is lovely, but a real steak experience in KC is either the Golden Ox (within walking distance to the old stockyards) or Jess and Jim's. they are both institutions, they both have steaks that are marbled perfectly, are buttery, and a simple selection of sides. As soon as Hereford House took the potatoes off the menu, my love affair with the space was over.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ehadleyr

                I have to put a vote in for the Golden Ox. I worked at the Livestock Natl. Bank in the Exchange bldg. in the late 50's and ate there often. I now live in Michigan and understand that it closed for awhile. In the day, it was an institution and, if it has returned to be anywhere close to the original, it's the best. I have so many stories. Sigh....

                1. re: SonyBob

                  This is one debate that is going to rage on in Kansas City until there is no longer a Kansas City IMHO. Personally I love the Herford House and avoid the Savoy Grill like the plague. My other reccomendation would be Yahooz. This will probably get me flamed for saying so but sorry, I love the steaks at Yahooz and have had nothing but impeccable food and service each and every time I have eaten there.

                  If you had the time the inclination and most importantly the resources I would tell you to go to McGonigles and pick up a couple of steaks and grill them yourself to your own liking. But I am sure that really wouldn't be an option for you. (Though you could go and have them pack a few steaks to take back with you to grill when you get back home.)


              2. Honestly, I find that Hereford house is really hit or miss... but I have plenty of suggestions:
                Piropos is good, just beware that although it IS an argentinian restaurant it is NOT argentinian beef, I think its actually local?
                In the JoCo area I always love J Gilberts, its not too expensive and its always cooked right.
                Plaza area I really like Capital Grille, I acknowledge that its kind of pricey, but it is absolutely the most consistent steak I've had in the city

                1. I notice that this post started n 2004. I replied to it in Jan. 2008. My question is: Is the Golden Ox still as good as it was in the past. Should I get my uncle and aunt out of John Knox and make the trip down. Will it be pretty much the same as the old Ox or will we have a bunch of bouncy young guys and gals, HI, I'm --- and I'll be your purveyor, etc.?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SonyBob

                    Can I eat at the bar at the Golden Ox. I will be in KC solo in early October and would like to stop in for dinner.

                    1. re: qbdave

                      Dave, one of the KC hounds will have to answer that one. I haven't been to the Ox since it re-opened. Back in the day, there were small tables in the bar area but I don't recall seeing anyone bellied up to the bar eating. Everyone was too busy drinking!